But, like many things, that list was evolved through time. As times change so do people's tastes. The modern world no longer wanted to simply look at pictures of the Seven Wonders in some old dusty history book. No, the modern world wanted to go and visit these wonders. Well, since all the old "Wonders" were no longer in existence, a new list was developed. And that's what I have for you today; the modern list of the New Seven Wonders of the World. The old list still exists but now it's called the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. And while the wonders on this new list are still very old, they are all still with us and can be visited and photographed. In 2007 a contest was held to find these new wonders and 100 million votes were cast. Here are the top seven vote getters.
1. Chichen, Mexico - One of numerous UNESCO World Heritage Sites on the list, the complex of Chichen Itza is the most famous symbol of the once mighty Mayan civilization. Archaeologists believe Chichen Itza emerged as a major economic and cultural center around 600 AD and grew for several centuries. The pyramid of El Castillo ("The Castle") is probably the best known structure of the once vast city.
2. Christ the Redeemer in Brazil - By far the "baby" of this list, the Christ the Redeemer statue was finished in 1931 but has already taken its place in the pantheon of historic wonders. Standing 30 meters (98 feet) tall and outstretched arms spanning 28 meters (92 feet), the simple but mesmerizing white statue of Art Deco design has an amazing view over Rio de Janeiro. It's one of the most magnificent meetings of natural and man-made beauty in the world.
3. Colosseum, Rome, Italy - Those Romans sure did enjoy their games -- gladiator fights, man vs. animal contests, chariot races and even mock naval battles. And say what you will about their entertainment choices, they built a Colosseum to last. Emperor Vespasian ordered the construction around 71 AD, and it was dedicated in 80 AD during the rule of his son Titus. It held around 50,000 spectators and even had a retractable awning to shield Romans.
4. The Great Wall of China - The Great Wall began around 220 BC, and construction continued for millennia. Its purpose: Keep nomadic people to the north out of China. Eventually, it couldn't hold back the Mongols, who successfully invaded in the 13th century anyway and set up shop in what's now Beijing under the direction of Kublai Khan. Stretching for 8,852 kilometers (5,500 miles) along the best-preserved Ming Dynasty portion of the superstructure, its travel appeal is obvious. In the words of UNESCO's page on the wall: It's "an outstanding example of the superb military architecture, technology and art of ancient China."
5. Machu Picchu, Peru - It is the most isolated and challenging-to-reach of the New Seven Wonders of the World (among other things, you have to adjust to the high altitude of the Peruvian Andes). But the rewards are huge in exchange for the trouble you'll go through to get there. Machu Picchu is the most splendid example of Incan architecture placed in a jaw-dropping landscape of tropical mountain forest. There are about 200 structures in this religious and agricultural center set on a steep ridge crisscrossed by terraces of stone.
Amazingly, it was in active use only a short time, historically speaking. The Inca built it in the 15th century, but it was abandoned after the Spanish invasion in the 16th century.
6. Petra, Jordan - Set in modern-day Jordan's southwestern desert region between the Dead Sea and the Red Sea, Petra was inhabited going back to prehistoric times. People today may recognize it from the 1989 movie "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade," but during the classical heydays of Greece and Rome, it was known as an important caravan stop between the Mediterranean and the Far East. By the 7th century AD, it was abandoned. But its desert location preserved much of it through the centuries No wonder it mesmerizes visitors today -- its blend of Eastern and Hellenistic styles, half-built and half-carved into the natural red sandstone of the area, truly deserves the term "unique."
7. Taj Mahal, India - The world-famous Taj Mahal is actually an incredibly elaborate tomb and an enduring symbol of love. Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan ordered construction in 1632 as a monument to his wife, Mumtaz Mahal. The stunningly beautiful structure, considered the height of Indo-Islamic architecture, was completed in 1648. The white marble structure is in Agra, about 212 kilometers (132 miles) south of India's capital, New Delhi.
There you have it, the list of the New Seven Wonders of the World. So go ahead and book a vacay to any one of these exotic destinations. Don't forget your camera. You'll want to take a few "selfies" with these amazing structures. And that's sure not something you can't do with the Hanging Gardens of Babylon!
Please come back tomorrow. The Dharma Frog will be here, as he is every Wednesday, and is sure to have an insightful lesson for me. Hope to see you then!